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Prosecutors Investigating Alderman's Offer Of Prizes To Voters

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Cook County prosecutors have begun investigating a South Side alderman who admitted she made a mistake by offering rewards to her constituents if they vote in the upcoming election, no matter who they vote for.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Ald. Leslie Hariston (5th) insisted her intentions were good, but she should not have offered raffle tickets for gift certificates to anyone in her ward who votes in the 2014 General Election.

The offer was posted on her Facebook page before she got advice on whether it was legal.

"We're always trying to boost turnout. I mean, that's part of what we want to do. We want people to vote. We want people to exercise their right to vote," Hairston said Wednesday.


Illinois election law says it's a felony to offer anyone money or anything else of value in exchange for votes, even if they aren't urged to vote for a specific candidate or referendum.

Hairston said her offer was posted before her office got a response from election officials on whether it was legal.

"I'm owning it, yeah. I'm owning it. Absolutely," Hairston said. "I'm not going to argue that. We took it up, we had it up, we took it down, it's done."

That might not be the last word on the matter, however, as Cook County prosecutors were investigating a complaint about the matter.

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